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Consumer Reports Holiday Poll: 51.7 Million Americans Have Yet To Begin Their Holiday Shopping

"Our poll revealed that Americans have plenty of shopping left to do and are generally enjoying the holiday season so far," said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports senior editor and resident shopping expert. "However, they are also watching their dollars very closely and just as in years past, they're looking for bargains."

Americans plan to spend a median of $483 on gifts this holiday season, according to the Consumer Reports Holiday Poll. But when asked if they were concerned about limiting their expenses, 81 percent of Americans said they were at least somewhat concerned, including 30 percent who are very concerned. The following is a list of things they said they plan to do differently this holiday season to save money:

  • Give less expensive gifts (55 percent)
  • Be more active in seeking out sales and discount coupons (46 percent)
  • Give gifts to fewer people (38 percent)
  • Agree on more limited gift-giving arrangements within family or group of friends (e.g., Secret Santa, gift exchange) (29 percent)
  • Limit online shopping to websites that offer free shipping (23 percent)
  • Give homemade or other creative gifts instead of store-bought gifts (21 percent)
  • Limit or cut down on holiday travel (19 percent)
  • Send holiday cards to fewer people (16 percent)

When it comes to deciding what gifts to give, 65 percent of Americans said they simply buy what the person they're shopping for requested. Four-in-ten rely on advice from friends or family, while one in five get ideas from ads or commercials, and the same proportion consult customer or user reviews or ratings. Only 5 percent of holiday shoppers get their gift ideas from salespeople.

Newspapers are a leading source of information on the best holiday shopping deals, used by 43 percent of Americans, the Consumer Reports Holiday Poll found. Promotional flyers or circulars (38 percent), TV or radio ads (36 percent), email promotions (29 percent), and deal or coupon websites, such as Groupon (15 percent), were other popular sources. Only 13 percent said they used or plan to use the social media channels Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter for information on shopping deals this holiday season.

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